Stealth and blending in to the terrain

A lot of reenactment level work is about learning appropriate historical crafts and skills. This board is for all general skills that don't have their own forum.

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Turgolanas
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Stealth and blending in to the terrain

Post by Turgolanas »

Not sure if this is the correct place for this, but recently I practiced some basic stealth/blending in both with camp and with garb. I was concerned that my brighter green would stand out, but that didn't seem to be an issue. I'm hoping to start a bit of a discussion on this particular skill, both in choosing colors and patterns and in choosing places to stealthily observe, build camp, or treck.

1. No stealth, just walking.
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2. I can't find myself here.
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3. Leaving the cover in the second picture.
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4. Faces are very visible. I didn't have a mask on me, but changing hood geometry made a difference later.
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5. A terrible hiding spot.
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6. Better, and note the more hidden face.
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Peter Remling
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Re: Stealth and blending in to the terrain

Post by Peter Remling »

No issues with the color. You are noticeable but because we're looking for you. If I was out with a group, I might not have noticed you. The bigger the group, the more distractions there are for the individuals in the group. You start to notice the noises the other members make, how they walk. This actually detracts from each person's ability to sense/notice. If there are 4 people in your group, 2 are highly observant and two neophytes, and you could plot them with numbers, you'd expect that there would be an average but there isn't, it actually is vastly less as the party itself uses much of the observability of the group, if that makes any sense.
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Turgolanas
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Re: Stealth and blending in to the terrain

Post by Turgolanas »

Oddly, this makes things like party stealth or perception checks in roleplaying games make more sense.
A Mayer
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Re: Stealth and blending in to the terrain

Post by A Mayer »

Great to see you out there working the basics.
Here’s a list we used to teach during the stalking and hide site portion of one of our schools. There’s a lot of variants of this, but they’re good bullets to keep in mind.

Why things are seen

Size
Surface
Shape
Silhouette
Shadow
Spacing
Color
Movement
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Turgolanas
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Re: Stealth and blending in to the terrain

Post by Turgolanas »

A Mayer wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:17 pm Great to see you out there working the basics.
Here’s a list we used to teach during the stalking and hide site portion of one of our schools. There’s a lot of variants of this, but they’re good bullets to keep in mind.

Why things are seen

Size
Surface
Shape
Silhouette
Shadow
Spacing
Color
Movement
Any specific issues you see with the kit I have in those pictures?
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Tom_Ranger
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Re: Stealth and blending in to the terrain

Post by Tom_Ranger »

Turgolanas wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 4:19 pm Not sure if this is the correct place for this, but recently I practiced some basic stealth/blending in both with camp and with garb. I was concerned that my brighter green would stand out, but that didn't seem to be an issue. I'm hoping to start a bit of a discussion on this particular skill, both in choosing colors and patterns and in choosing places to stealthily observe, build camp, or treck.
I think your stealth is very traditional and you do well. Technically there is no reason one couldn't make an old style camo softkit. Even leather platted armor could have different colors of plates (brown, green, tan, black, olive). Add a little natural stressing and it only gets better.
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screenaholic
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Re: Stealth and blending in to the terrain

Post by screenaholic »

I know a fair bit about camouflage, as an infantry veteran. Camouflage helps you blend into the environment in four way; color, shine, silhouette, thermal.

Color is probably the most obvious. The closer in colors you are to your environment, the more you blend in. For most natural environments, that's a lot of browns and drab greens. Don't fall into the fallacy that dark colors/black are better for night time. The colors of your clothes are going to be affected by the light just as much as your environment, so if your environment gets 50% darker, your clothes will as well. If the environment is dark enough to look black, your clothes will as well, regardless of what color they are.

If you look at you'll kit, you'll likely see some shiny metal bits. What you might not realize is that YOU are shiny as well. You're not as shiny as most of the modern world around you, but compared to dirt and trees your skin can be quite shiny, especially when you get a good sweat going. The more skin you can cover up the better, even if you are dark skinned (I had a team leader once who said he didn't need to put on camo paint, because he was black anyway. He didn't understand that black skin still gets shiny.) In place of modern camo paint soldiers use, things like dirt, mud, or ash can be used to help reduce shine on any exposed skin or metal kit.

Silhouette is your shape. The human mind is VERY good at picking out human shapes, especially human faces. This is why people often see faces that aren't there in their food or on walls. Ideally, you want to have patterns similar to the shapes in your environment. For example, in deciduous forests you would want splotchy shapes, to roughly mimic the leaves. In evergreen forests, sharp lines may do better, to emulate needles. Neither hunting nor military style patterns would fit at all with the Middle Earth vibe, obviously I think the best bet for "Medieval" camo patterns is likely plaid. It's much more blocky than ideal, but the lines will at least help break up the human silhouette.

Last is thermal. Much less of a concern given the lack of night vision/thermal goggles in the Middle Ages, but maybe some monster or another can see heat signatures, so why not mention it? Modern military camos come with a special coating on them that helps reduce thermal signature. Obviously that's not an option here. Sticking low-tech, any clothes you wear will start to warm up, and eventually do little to hide your thermal signature. That being said, loose fitting clothes will absorb less of your heat, and will SOMEWHAT help. Your best bet is likely a cloak, or even a blanket. To make it even more effective, don't keep it on you. Wait until you need to reduce your thermal signature, then through it on last minute. The shorter amount of time it's covering you, the better it will be at reducing your thermal signature.
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